From the Vestry: Priorities for 2020

In last week’s E-News, Fr. Steve introduced the following three ministry priorities that the vestry chose for the year: marketing and evangelism, youth and families, and missio (Latin word meaning “to send”). The vestry decided on these priorities after doing discernment around our call as a Christian community to “gather, transform, and send.” This week we want to give you a little more information about these three vestry priorities and the team members that are involved.

Marketing and Evangelism

This team will continue to build upon the vital work that was started by last year’s Marketing and Evangelism team. A primary goal of this group is to help grow Good Samaritan’s presence in the greater Sammamish area and invite those called by God to join with us in our lifelong journey with Christ. Good Samaritan is a safe and welcoming place for all people to gather, and as Christians we feel called to do our part in making it easier for Good Samaritan to be found by those seeking community. The team is currently preparing a marketing plan for the year, but a few actions that are expected include increasing the amount of signage and banners around the community, developing and implementing a social media plan, and building work groups to participate in community events. The goal for all activities is to let those seeking God that Good Samaritan is a place that welcomes them. We ask for your prayers and support in transforming Good Samaritan from a hidden gem into a shining beacon on the plateau.

This team includes Rick Tidball (leader), Amy Bowers and Brian Swensen.

Youth and Families

Youth and Families is the fastest and most consistently growing demographic of Good Samaritan’s congregation. There is a gap in how this segment is being served compared to the potential of how it can be served. High functioning families with busy and demanding schedules can find it difficult to carve out time to explore, grow, and renew their faith. The Youth and Families team will be looking for new ways and opportunities for these faith seekers and the congregation to experience a deeper sense of community, connection and belonging. We ask for your prayers and support in shaping Good Samaritan into a third place (outside of work/school and home) where spiritual and communal transformation can take hold.

This team includes Steve Foster (leader), Patrick Duff and Patricia Waltner.

Missio

As Christians, when we make and renew our baptizmal vows it is a call of action and support. To serve, seek and love Christ in each and every human being. Each week we ask God “to send us out to do the work you have given us to do, to love and serve you as faithful witnesses of Christ our Lord.” Nurturing and supporting one another not only within the walls that we identify as Good Samaritan Episcopal Church but also outside of them, in those spaces where life happens. That, in a nutshell, is what the Missio group has been tasked with undertaking. God is already at work within peoples lives at Good Samaritan. There are many current opportunities to engage outside of church such as; Issaquah Meals, Men’s and Women’s groups, Trunk or Treat, and the activities the Faith in Action (FIA) committee is developing, the list goes on. The need and opportunity to serve our community is greater now than seemingly ever before. The Missio team, along with FIA, will be partnering with other faith communities and organizations to engage out in the community and with the members of the congregation. We ask for your prayers and support as the Missio team continues to explore and discern the best paths forward in ways to participate in God’s grace.

This team includes Jim Martin (leader), Jane Harrell and Carol Stamper.

Please be on the lookout for more information about these three vestry priorities as the year progresses.

Yours in Christ,

Brian Swensen, Junior Warden
Rick Tidball, Senior Warden


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From the Rector: Send Us Out

In the Book of Common Prayer 1979 there are two options for the post-communion prayer. The second option concludes with a petition asking God to “send us out to do the work you have given us to do, to love and serve you as faithful witnesses of Christ our Lord.” That petition is a reminder that the vast majority of God’s work goes on outside the walls of the church building the other 166 hours a week!
 
On Tuesday afternoon I attended the retirement reception of one of our parishioners, Dr. Philip Ballinger. Philip, husband of our former deacon, Kathryn, is Associate Vice Provost for Enrollment Management at the University of Washington and is retiring this month after over 30 years of service in university admissions and enrollment. At the reception, speaker after speaker spoke about Philip’s integrity and collegial spirit. What struck me most was the work he has done to increase fair and equitable access to higher education. During his time at UW, the racial and ethnic diversity of the student body at UW has grown dramatically. In reality, Philip has been doing God’s work—Kingdom work—in his career in higher education. It was evident, too, that the Christ-like way in which he approached his job has made a lasting impact on his colleagues at UW and literally around the world.*
 
Philip, of course, is not the only lay person in our parish doing ministry through their vocations. Week after week I hear stories about how people in our parish are living out their faith and making a difference in the world. Teachers who bring the values of our Baptismal Covenant into the classroom, managers who treat their teams with fairness and respect, parents who seek to instill Christian values in their children, volunteers who work with and lead in community service organizations, parishioners who are kind to their neighbors—this is what it means to be the Church sent out to do the work God has given us to do. Not just on Tuesday at the retirement reception, but almost every Sunday I hear what you are doing to make God’s love known in your everyday life. Your stories and your commitment to follow Christ throughout the week wherever you are inspires me!
 
At our vestry retreat last weekend, your vestry chose three ministry priorities for the year: 1) marketing and evangelism, 2) youth and families, and 3) what I will call, for now, “missio,” the Latin word for “to send.” We decided on these priorities after doing discernment around our call as a Christian community to “gather, transform, and send.” The send, or missio, priority arose as we asked ourselves how we were doing as a parish in preparing and inspiring one another to leave our corporate worship experiences to do God’s work in our family life, work life, social and civic life, and, yes, even in our parish life. You’ll be hearing more about these three priority areas of the vestry soon. Suffice it to say here that your vestry, Rector, and the Faith in Action Commission will give even more intentionality to how we can lead, guide, and support one another as we are sent into the world to do the work God has given us to do!
 
Excitedly,
Fr. Steve+
 
*Philip will be our guest speaker at the Seasoned Saints luncheon on March 9, at 12 noon, here at the church.  He’ll share more about his training as a Jesuit priest, his career in higher education, and the new project he’s working on with UW.

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Guatemala Dinner

Friday, February 7, at 6:30 pm

Join the Good Samaritan Guatemalan Mission Team for a Guatemalan-themed dinner and details about the work the team will be doing March 1-8. You’ll learn more about Safe Passage (the organization with whom we’ll be working) and Guatemala, and hear updates about the Gregorys, our missionary family serving in Guatemala City. The dinner and program is the team’s gift to the parish and an invitation to support the trip with your prayers and financial support. Donations received will go to directly support the work of Safe Passage. Reservations are required.
 
CONTACT: Lorene Ehlers
Come join us at this fantastic event!
Can’t go, but want to support the cause?
*Choose the line “Mission Trip (Waterfield Fund)”

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Faith in Action: New Focus Areas of Service

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
 
About a year ago, Fr. Steve called for the formation of the Faith in Action Commission. Our vestry endorsed this action, and several members of the parish began meeting to read, pray, and discern together how God might be calling us to strengthen and expand our outreach ministries. We discovered in our journey that many in our parish were passionate about the work we were doing, which has consisted of Issaquah Meals and the occasional seasonal project, and many were already involved in ministries not sponsored by our parish. We also came to understand that, as followers of Jesus, our call to serve goes beyond “doing for” to include also “being with.” In other words, the relational aspect of outreach is just as important than the actual action itself, if not more so.
 
In our discernment and planning, we realized very early on that we as a parish cannot do everything. We also came to understand that many in our parish are putting their faith into action everyday by participating in community service organizations, serving on the boards of non-profits, or participating in outreach ministries outside of the parish. Thus after months of discernment and discussion, the Faith in Action Commission has identified four new focus areas of service and outreach.
 

FAITH IN ACTION NEW AREAS OF SERVICE

 
THE GOOD SAMARITAN PRESCHOOL
Team Leader: Steve Foster
Our weekday preschool serves over 70 children and 60+ families. Most of the families served do not attend worship services at Good Samaritan, but we believe there exists a great opportunity to serve and engage with the children and parents of our preschool. Opportunities for engagement with the school include Blessing of the Preschool Staff and Students on September 8, Trunk or Treat in October, Carols and Cookies in December, and help with leading preschool chapel. Other possibilities include a multi-cultural fair, back to school breakfast, and a field day, all sponsored by the parish.
 
MENTAL WELLNESS
Team Leader: Tom Ehlers
The Human Services Commission of the City of Sammamish recently conducted a study in which anxiety and depression have been identified as a major health issues in our community. The FIA Commission wants to offer mental wellness resources and support to our parish and the surrounding community. This group is exploring a partnership with the local YMCA and other faith communities in Sammamish to launch a mentoring program for high school students. We also hope to offer an event series or forums dealing with stress for pre-teens, teens, and parents. The group is also working with our Communications Director to set up a page of resources on our website.
 
BECOMING BELOVED COMMUNITY WITH LA IGLESIA EPISCOPAL DE LA RESURRECCION IN MT. VERNON
Team Leaders: Terry Foster and Julio Richburg; Assistant Leader, Abby Pommer
We believe it is the work of the Church to engage in the work of reconciliation and build bridges between different races and cultures. La Iglesia Episcopal de la Resurrección in Mt. Vernon serves a predominantly Hispanic and migrant worker congregation in the Skagit Valley. By worshiping together, participating in cultural events, and listening to their stories, we hope to gain a deeper understanding of how we can build a sustainable relationship and serve the people of the Skagit Valley together. Opportunities to participate will include a Sunday visit to Resurrección for worship in the fall, participating in their celebration of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadelupe on December 12, and exploring how to support the day camp their parish operates during the summer for the children of migrant workers.
 
MISSION TO GUATEMALA
Team Leader: Terry Foster, assisted by Julio Richburg and Abby Pommer
Every Sunday we affirm that we belong to the Universal Church and the Communion of Saints, which means essentially that we here at Good Samaritan are part of what God is doing all over our world. We believe that global awareness broadens our horizons, opens our minds, and, in this particular case, helps us better understand the conditions and policies that have led so many to flee their countries and seek asylum in the United States. This group is planning a mission trip to Guatemala, possibly in the spring of 2020, to serve with Safe Passage and Fr. Brian in Guatemala City. An informational meeting is being planned for November.
 
These four areas of service were chosen not because there aren’t other equally valuable outreach opportunities, but because of existing relationships that could be strengthened or built upon. These focus areas also allow us the opportunity to best leverage our resources to match needs in our own parish and the community.
 
Please note that our monthly meal program, Issaquah Meals will continue on the second Saturday afternoon of each month. Steve Angelo can be contacted about participation in this ministry. We need additional cooks, food transporters (taking the food from the church to Issaquah Community Center), and food servers. Set up and clean up volunteers are always welcome.
 

STAY TUNED

You’ll be hearing more in the coming days and weeks about these proposed projects and relationships. There will be meetings scheduled for those interested in participating or gathering more information, and opportunities to sign up for projects will begin in August. All of these projects involve action items, but they are centered round the building of relationships with folks outside our parish and between parishioners.
 
Please ask questions and give us your input and feedback. Feel free to contact the team leaders of each of these projects or Fr. Steve. Watch for details about an information and feedback meeting to come soon!
 
Yours in mission and service,
 
The Faith in Action Commission
Megan Anderson, Tom Ehlers, Terry and Steve Foster, Julio Richburg, Abby Pommer, and Fr. Steve

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